It's that time of year again, the season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday February 17th. Lent offers us an opportunity to do some spiritual spring cleaning each year and to make an effort at some kind of spiritual regeneration. Traditionally this has expressed itself in making some small sacrifice or other, self-denial is a time trusted weapon in the arsenal of the spiritual life. To deny ourselves something we enjoy for a higher motive can be a real source of building inner strength and coupled with prayer and almsgiving can help us to grow in our inner life.
The times we find ourselves in has meant that we have already given up a great deal of the things that we enjoy. Ordinary everyday pleasures like meeting a friend for a cup of coffee or to visit the theatre or cinema, attending a sporting fixture, sharing a meal with family and friends, going for a haircut, things we took for granted, now seem like sheer luxury. In truth we have given up a great deal. So like everything else in these strange times Lent 2021 will be unlike any other.
With the present restrictions public Masses are not permitted at present so the traditional gatherings for blessed ashes will not be possible this year. The ashes are a visible sign worn to express an inner intention to repent of past sinfulness and to embrace the path of the Gospel with renewed enthusiasm. There is no magic in the ashes, the important thing is the inner intention that they give expression to and no virus can prevent that choice in the individual heart.
This year at St. Mary's we will have two online Masses on Ash Wednesday one at 10:00am and one at 7:30pm - what we are suggesting is that each person tuning in might have a small dish with either ash from the fire grate or soil from the garden - we will then pray together a prayer of blessing and each person can either self-administer the ashes on their forehead or family members can do so for each other using the words 'Repent and believe the good news of the Gospel.'
Beginning on Wednesday 24th at 7:30pm we will each Wednesday have an online prayer time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, you are invited to tune in each week for guided prayer on the major themes of Lent.
There are also some interesting online resources available for Lent and details of these will be published on the parish website. www.lucanparish.com on Sunday 14th February.
Despite the restrictions of these strange times Lent 2021 can still be an opportunity for all of us to build up our inner selves: 'Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth, until knowing the love of Christ which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.'
St. Mary's Lucan